PATLIPUTRA

Ancient literature refers to Patliputra by various names such as Patligram, Patlipur, Kusumpur, Pushpapur or Kusumdhvaj. In the 6th century B.C. it was a small village where Buddha, sometime before his demise, had discovered a fort being built under the decrees of King Ajatshatru of Rajgrih for the defence of the Magadh kingdom against the Lichchavi republic of Vaishali. Impressed by its strategic location King Udayin, son, and successor of Ajatyshatru, shifted the Capital of Magadh kingdom from Rajgrih to Patliputra in the middle of 5th-century B.C. For about a thousand years since then, Patliputra remained the capital of great Indian empires of Shaisunag, Nanda, Maurya, Sunga, and Gupta dynasties. The place has also been an important centre of activity in the fields of learning, commerce, art, and religion. During Ashoka's reign, the third Buddhist council was held here. Likewise, Sthulbhadra, the eminent Jain ascetic, had convened a council here during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya.

Chankya Gufa in Patliputraread more

The first vivid account of Patliputra, including its municipal administration, comes at about 300 B.C. from Megasthenese, the celebrated Greek ambassador at the court of Chandragupta Maurya, who cites it as Palibothra in his book, Indica. Agreeing to his explanation, the spread of the urban center was like a parallelogram, about 14 km east-westward along the river Ganges, and approximately 3 km north-south. The circumference of the metropolis was about 36 km. It was protected by massive timber palisades and further defended by a broad and deep moat, which served as the city sewer. Chanakya/Kautilya in his book, Arthashastra, also indicates wide rampart around the city. Remnants of the wooden palisades have been discovered during the series of excavations at Lohanipur, Bahadurpur, Sandalpur, Bulandibagh, Kumrahar and some other locations in Patna. Megasthenese also mentions about the royal palace of Chandragupta Maurya. Being built of timber, Megasthenese describes it to be far superior to the palaces of Susa and Ecbatana in present-day Iran, in terms of beauty and magnificence.

Excavations at Kumrahar have brought to light a Mauryan pillared hall of polished sandstone monoliths comparable to the pillared palace at Persopolis in modern Iran. Patliputra was an important centre of sculptural art in the early period of history. The life-size sandstone sculpture of Yakshi or the Chauri Bearer with the lustrous polish of the Mauryan period, found fro Didarganj, is an epitome of female beauty and anatomical proportions. Similarly, the torso of Jain Tirthankaras discovered from Lohanipur, speak volumes about the excellent art traditions of Patliputra in the early period. The place was equally famous for its terracotta art.

A number of famous authors are associated with Patliputra, notable being Kautilya or Chanakya, the author of Arthashastra, and Patanjali, who wrote Mahabhashya. Fa-Hien, the famous Chinese traveler of the early 5th a.d., has described as a prosperous city and a famous centre of learning. The Arogyaviharor the hospital-cum-monastery run by the novel physician, Dhanvantri, during Gupta period has been exposed at Kumrahar. When Hieun-Tsiang, another renowned Chinese traveler, visited the city in the 7th century A.D., most of Patliputra was in ruins. However, there is an opinion that it continued to be the capital during the Pala period also. Thereafter, the place might have lost its capital status, but in the spheres of polity, economy, art, and religion, it continued to be a significant center even when it was passing through the medieval and British times and now once again has emerged as the capital of Bihar state. Ancient literature refers to Patliputra by various names like Patligram, Patlipur, Kusumpur, Pushpapur or Kusumdhvaj. In the 6th century B.C., It was a small village where Buddha, sometime before his demise, had discovered a fort being built under the decrees of King Ajatshatru of Rajgrih for the denial of the Magadh kingdom against the Lichchavi republic of Vaishali. Struck by its strategic location King Udayin, son, and successor of Ajatyshatru, shifted the Capital of Magadh kingdom from Rajgrih to Patliputra in the middle of 5th-century B.C. For about a thousand years since then, Patliputra remained the capital of great Indian empires of Shaisunag, Nanda, Maurya, Sunga, and Gupta dynasties. The place has also been an important centre of activity in the fields of learning, commerce, art, and religion. During Ashoka's reign, the third Buddhist council was held here. Likewise, Sthulbhadra, the eminent Jain ascetic, had convened a council here during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya.

Patliputra was an important centre of sculptural art in the early period of history. The life-size sandstone sculpture of Yakshi or the Chauri Bearer with the lustrous of the Mauryan period, found fro Didarganj, is an epitome of female beauty and anatomical proportions. Similarly, the torso of Jain Tirthankaras discovered from Lohanipur, speak volumes about the excellent art traditions of Patliputra in the early period. The place was equally famous for its terracotta art.

A number of famous authors are associated with Patliputra, notable being Kautilya or Chanakya, the author of Arthashastra, and Patanjali, who wrote Mahabhashia. Fa-Hien, the famous Chinese traveler of the early 5th a.d., has described as a prosperous city and a famous centre of learning. The Arogyaviharor the hospital-cum-monastery run by the novel physician, Dhanvantri, during Gupta period has been exposed at Kumrahar. When Hieun-Tsiang, another renowned Chinese traveler, visited the city in the 7th century A.D., most of Patliputra was in ruins. However, there is an opinion that it continued to be the capital during the Pala period also. Thereafter, the place might have lost its capital status but in the spheres of polity, economy, art, and religion, it continued to be a significant centre when it was passing through the medieval and British times and now once again has emerged as the capital of Bihar state.

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